It's nice to think we are all equal under the law, but are some more equal than others?
Today, in the US and many other countries throughout the world there are laws in place to protect employees against religious, sexual or disability discrimination, as well as job harassment - either verbal, physical or sexual.
Federal legislation also upholds the right to a fair minimum wage, overtime pay, and vacation time; maternity leave and personal time to care for family members; and the right to personal privacy.
While union employees can often take workplace grievances to their local union representative, many employees (or prospective employees) must be their own advocates for fairness in the workplace.
Usually, this entails talking with a human resources professional or hiring legal counsel to fight for them, especially in cases of injury and unsafe working conditions or against other wrongs perpetrated by certain employers.
What they may NOT ask you at the job interview
Even prior to being hired, job applicants are protected against personal information that an interviewer may ask. Although some information may be ascertained by the job application, interviewers are legally bound to steer clear of pointed questions that attempt to cull applicants' personal information.
These include questions about their age, race or national origin, disabilities, arrest records, military service discharge (whether honorable or dishonorable), what organizations they may belong to, or whether or not they have ever filed bankruptcy.
Discrimination, harassment and retaliation
In the US, the largest number of EEOC complaints nationwide arise from employees who charge race discrimination on the job. This is followed by claims of retaliation when an
employee is involved in whistle blowing against either a company or individual. Next come charges of discrimination because of age or disability (either by an applicant or employee).
Lower down on the list of most frequent charges is sexual harassment which, by its sensitive nature, is still thought to be woefully under reported in today's workplace.
Elsewhere on the Web, find out more about international, US federal, and state legislation and penalties that govern employer obligations and employee rights, what to do if you're a victim, and related facts and information on how and when to file a complaint ...
NOLO - Employee Rights - Complete guide to information on protections under the law for US employees including discussions on fair hiring
practices, minimum wage, vacation pay, maternity and military leave, layoffs and firings.
Canada Labour Law - The official government site with information on workplace health and safety, employment standards including holidays, vacations, working hours, unjust dismissals, minimum wage, layoff procedures and severance pay.
Working Rights.co.uk - A virtual library of feature articles and discussions on UK law and workplace discrimination.
Fair Work Australia - The official site for information on the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard including hours of work, annual leave, minimum wage, maternity leave and related employee entitlements.
The information provided on these pages is intended as reference
only and does not constitute professional legal advice.